Living conditions

The "assembly centers" were hastily erected quarters located throughout the West Coast at fairgrounds, racetracks and other similar facilities. Conditions at these locations were appalling. People were housed in animal stalls and barracks with communal bathrooms and mess halls. Privacy was next to nonexistent. Most families lived in a 20-by-20-foot room separated from the next "apartment" by wood partitions that did not reach the ceiling. Shortages of food and deplorable sanitation were common. Overcrowding, uncertainty, and stress created tension in the "assembly centers," even as the demoralized camp inmates tried to improve living conditions.

World War II (66)
Temporary Assembly Centers (97)
Living conditions (334)

334 items
Clothing Request (ddr-densho-356-773)
doc Clothing Request (ddr-densho-356-773)
Carbon copy of a clothing request made by Yuriko Domoto
Clothing Issuance (ddr-densho-356-797)
doc Clothing Issuance (ddr-densho-356-797)
Information from Santa Anita Assembly Center on clothing allotments and issuing.
Two letters to Yuri from Min Yonekura (ddr-densho-356-285)
doc Two letters to Yuri from Min Yonekura (ddr-densho-356-285)
Two letters to Yuriko Domoto Tsukada from Minoru "Min" Yonekura. Both letters stored in one envelope, unclear if they were mailed together or separately. Letter 5/11: describes forced removal, details items needed in assembly center to make barracks feel homey, food quality in the assembly center and general life there. Letter 2: discusses plans to move …
Administrative Notice No. 24 Contraband Articles and Possession of Liquor and Drugs (ddr-densho-356-801)
doc Administrative Notice No. 24 Contraband Articles and Possession of Liquor and Drugs (ddr-densho-356-801)
Administrative Notice No. 24 from Santa Anita Assembly Center quotes the Center Regulations regarding the possession of contraband. Contraband includes: Shortwave Radios, cameras, firearms, weapons, alcohol, and drugs.
Clothing list and request for Richard Tsukada (ddr-densho-356-796)
doc Clothing list and request for Richard Tsukada (ddr-densho-356-796)
List of approved clothing items and their prices and a clothing request form filled out for Richard "Dick" Tsukada.
Four letters to Yuri Domoto from Tomi Domoto (ddr-densho-356-289)
doc Four letters to Yuri Domoto from Tomi Domoto (ddr-densho-356-289)
Four letters stored in one envelope to Yuriko Domoto Tsukada from her cousin Tomi Domoto. Appears the letters were mailed separately and later stored together in one envelope. 6/8 letter: discusses events leading up to forced removal, inquires about how family are settling into the camp and how hers is and mutual friends. 8/8 letter: discusses …
Richard M. Murakami Interview Segment 5 (ddr-manz-1-161-5)
vh Richard M. Murakami Interview Segment 5 (ddr-manz-1-161-5)
Memories of "evacuation day," arriving at the Marysville Assembly Center, California
Gene Akutsu Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1016-4-2)
vh Gene Akutsu Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1016-4-2)
Preparing for mass removal

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

Chizuko Iyama - Ernie Iyama Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1012-5-2)
vh Chizuko Iyama - Ernie Iyama Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1012-5-2)
First impressions of camp: "the camps were certainly not good for families" (audio only)

This interview is audio-only. It contains raw footage used by Steven Okazaki in his 1985 film Unfinished Business.

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, finding, and …

Bob Utsumi Interview Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1013-8-11)
vh Bob Utsumi Interview Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1013-8-11)
Arrival in the Tanforan Assembly Center: recalling mother's display of emotion
George S. Matsui Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1008-2-6)
vh George S. Matsui Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1008-2-6)
Impressions of Santa Anita Assembly Center

Members of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) arranged for and conducted this interview in conjunction with Densho.

George S. Matsui Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1008-2-7)
vh George S. Matsui Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1008-2-7)
Bad food in camp

Members of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) arranged for and conducted this interview in conjunction with Densho.

Hisaye Yamamoto Interview Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1002-10-6)
vh Hisaye Yamamoto Interview Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1002-10-6)
Memories of mass removal; first impressions of Parker Dam Assembly Center, Arizona

This interview was conducted by sisters Emiko and Chizuko Omori for their 1999 documentary, Rabbit in the Moon, about the Japanese American resisters of conscience in the World War II incarceration camps. As a result, the interviews in this collection are typically not …

Mits Koshiyama Interview Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1002-6-3)
vh Mits Koshiyama Interview Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1002-6-3)
Memories of Santa Anita Assembly Center: feeling "confused and dumbfounded"

This interview was conducted by sisters Emiko and Chizuko Omori for their 1999 documentary, Rabbit in the Moon, about the Japanese American resisters of conscience in the World War II incarceration camps. As a result, the interviews in this collection are typically not life histories, …

Jim Hirabayashi Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1002-5-9)
vh Jim Hirabayashi Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1002-5-9)
Memories of Pinedale Assembly Center: playing sports, attending school

This interview was conducted by sisters Emiko and Chizuko Omori for their 1999 documentary, Rabbit in the Moon, about the Japanese American resisters of conscience in the World War II incarceration camps. As a result, the interviews in this collection are typically not life histories, instead …

Tatsukichi Moritani Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1001-2-9)
vh Tatsukichi Moritani Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1001-2-9)
First sight of Manzanar concentration camp: "sure is a desolate-looking place"
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